ME2004 Project(Design and Make)
Graphical Project Planning Techniques:
An Overview of Gantt, PERT, and CPM Charts
The purpose of this brief tutorial is to present an overview of several graphical project
planning techniques and provide a “cookbook” approach to creating these charts for ME4201
design projects. This should not be taken as a definitive study of the Gantt, PERT, or CPM
charts, but should be helpful for those students unfamiliar with these techniques.
Projects that involve more than one person and/or more than one step pose the following
What tasks need to be done to complete the project?
When and in what order will these tasks be done?
Who will do each task?
What are the intermediate deadlines (e.g., status reports), and what will be done by
To answer these questions, additional issues arise, such as:
How long will each task take?
What dependencies exist between tasks?
Who has the knowledge/skill/time to do each task?
What external constraints exist (e.g., time to order parts)?
The Gantt, PERT, and CPM charts describe the answers to these questions in time-oriented
In all cases, the “task” is the basic unit of interest. In this context, a task is some significant
activity the group will need to perform to accomplish its goals. Note that the group will have
goals that include the project itself as well as presentations, reports, proposals, etc.
Tasks are given:
a name/description (typically, verb-noun, as in “design control board” or “research
an estimate of the amount of calendar time required
a list of other tasks (if any) that must be completed before this task can begin (or end)
Other task attributes can be added if desired, such as time required in person-hours and other
resources required (e.g., financial, special skills, special equipment).
Besides tasks, other information is required, such as:
the overall project start/end dates
other deadlines or milestones (e.g., reports, etc.)